Fantasy football owners looking for a reason to draft Gardner Minshew in 2020 can add another reason to their list: Free beer. There's a catch, though: You've got to take Minshew in the first round of your draft. If you do that, you and 249 other lucky winners can win a $20 Bud Light gift card.
Here at Sporting News Fantasy, we were bought into Minshew Mania from the very beginning in 2019. How can you not love Minshew's mustache combined with his flowing locks and willingness to attempt pretty much anything on a football field? So, even though Minshew is outside of our top-20 fantasy quarterbacks, we'd still love to make the case (no pun intended) to draft him. Now, we've probably got a few more of you listening.
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Every indication is that while Minshew has quite the outward personality, he's as competitive as anyone. So, it wouldn't be doing Minshew justice if we just let you draft him in the first round, tweet the screenshot to Bud Light for the contest, and then forget about that team altogether. No, we're going to help you draft Minshew in the first round and win your league doing it.
Building a fantasy football team around Gardner Minshew
For the sake of this exercise, let's assume that you're not going to be benching your first-round pick Minshew. Outside of his bye week, we'll plan on starting Jacksonville's quarterback as much as possible.
Facing Minshew off with the Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes-led teams puts you a bit behind the eight ball, so first, we need to compensate by using a strategy often reserved for daily fantasy football: Stacking. To have the best week-to-week upside, you need to end up with Minshew's top target, DJ Chark, at wide receiver. That way, any big plays between the two essentially get you double the points. Chark is currently going 27th among WRs and 61st overall, according to FantasyPros ADP data, so you'll want to select him by the end of the fifth round in a 12-team league.
To see what the rest of a roster might look like, we used FantasyPros' mock draft simulator to build a team around Minshew. Here's our starting lineup while ensuring we drafted Minshew in the first round (first overall!) and Chark in the fifth. We made the second-through-fourth round selections using best-player available on their board and then autodrafted after ensuring we got Chark.
Our full starting lineup: Minshew, Kenyan Drake, Le'Veon Bell, Chark, Kenny Golladay, Tyler Lockett, Austin Hooper, the Saints D/ST, and Harrison Butker.
The biggest hit your team takes by drafting Minshew in the first round is not getting a top-tier RB. Drake and Bell could both have solid seasons, but neither of them is Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, or Dalvin Cook.
Accounting for Gardner Minshew's bye week
The Jaguars have their bye in Week 7 this year. That's the only time you won't be able to play Minshew, assuming he stays healthy, so let's find an exploitable Week 7 matchup for our backup QB.
For the sake of waiting as long as possible on quarterback so as to fill in the skill guys around Minshew, you should select Tyrod Taylor in the latest stages of your draft. He should still be starting over Justin Herbert in Week 7, and the Chargers play the Dolphins that week, which is likely a great matchup. Taylor provides a great floor with his rushing ability and some upside with strong passing-game weapons around him.
And since you're surely wondering about Minshew's fantasy playoff schedule (Weeks 14-16): Jacksonville hosts Tennessee, travels to Baltimore, and then hosts Chicago. Those aren't exactly the easiest, so if you make it to your fantasy playoffs, you better buckle up.
Odds of winning the Bud Light sweepstakes
In the about 45 minutes following Bud Light's tweeted announcement of the official #BudLightMinshewDraft hashtag, 10 people have already tweeted their selection of Minshew early on. It's likely a much larger number than the 250 winners will submit for the contest, so how lucky are you feeling?
What would really take guts is doing it in a money league where the buy-in is greater than $20. Imagine entering a $100 league, picking Minshew first for the chance to win $20 worth of beer, and then not even winning. If you do it anyway, you better follow our advice.
Maybe next Bud Light will follow the lead of Hyperion Brewing Company, which last season renamed its Jaguars-themed 'Gold 'N Teal' beer to 'Minshew's Mafia.'